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Does prenatal care increase access to child immunization? Gender bias among children in India

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  • Choi, Jin Young
  • Lee, Sang-Hyop

Abstract

Prenatal care appears to serve as a trigger in increasing the chances for access to subsequent health care services. Although several previous studies have investigated this connection, none have focused specifically on how parents' behavior differs before and after learning the gender of their babies. Investigating parents' behavioral changes after the child's birth provides a quasi-natural experiment with which to test the gender discrimination hypothesis. This issue was examined here, using a rich family health survey data set from India. We find evidence for the triggering effect of prenatal care on immunization only among rural boys, but we find no compelling evidence for this effect among other sub-samples. This finding suggests two things, which are not mutually exclusive. One is that the information spillover from prenatal care has a much larger impact in rural areas, where alternative sources of information are scarce, compared with urban areas. The other is that the sex of a child is a critical factor in producing different levels of health care behavior in rural areas, where sons are favored and more valued than in urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Choi, Jin Young & Lee, Sang-Hyop, 2006. "Does prenatal care increase access to child immunization? Gender bias among children in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 107-117, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:1:p:107-117
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kim Streatfield & Masri Singarimbun & Ian Diamond, 1990. "Maternal Education and Child Immunization," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(3), pages 447-455, August.
    2. Fred Arnold & Sunita Kishor & T. K. Roy, 2002. "Sex-Selective Abortions in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 759-785.
    3. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Selective gender differences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 395-418, August.
    4. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
    5. Vinod Mishra & T. K. Roy & Robert D. Retherford, 2004. "Sex Differentials in Childhood Feeding, Health Care, and Nutritional Status in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 269-295.
    6. Anne Pebley & Noreen Goldman & Germán Rodríguez, 1996. "Prenatal and delivery care and childhood immunization in guatemala: Do family and community matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(2), pages 231-247, May.
    7. Mark Montgomery & Michele Gragnolati & Kathleen Burke & Edmundo Paredes, 2000. "Measuring living standards with proxy variables," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 155-174, May.
    8. Pande, Rohini P. & Yazbeck, Abdo S., 2003. "What's in a country average? Wealth, gender, and regional inequalities in immunization in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(11), pages 2075-2088, December.
    9. Sang-Hyop Lee, 2005. "Demand for Immunization, Parental Selection, and Child Survival: Evidence from Rural India," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 171-196, June.
    10. Goldman, Noreen & Pebley, Anne R., 1994. "Health cards, maternal reports and the measurement of immunization coverage: The example of Guatemala," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1075-1089, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justina A.V. Fischer & Christian Bjornskov & Axel Dreher, 2007. "On Gender Inequality and Life Satisfaction: Does Discrimination Matter?," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-07, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    2. Singh, Prashant Kumar & Parasuraman, Sulabha, 2014. "‘Looking beyond the male–female dichotomy’ – Sibling composition and child immunization in India, 1992–2006," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 145-153.
    3. Social Policy and Population Section, Social Development Division, ESCAP., 2006. "Asia-Pacific Population Journal Volume 21, No. SP," Asia-Pacific Population Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 21(SP), pages 1-116, November.

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